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AV Technology Spotlight

What Is Dolby® Atmos™ Height Virtualization?

It’s a great way to achieve new sonic heights.

With every passing day, Dolby® Atmos™ immersive technology continues to enjoy increasing popularity, filling home theaters with sound from above as well as from the front and rear. Through the use of object-based audio, Atmos allows content creators to position and move sounds, effects and music in a three-dimensional space — all of which can be reproduced from ceiling-mounted or upward-firing speakers, taking your viewing, gaming and listening experiences to new sonic heights.

Up until now, if you wanted to enjoy the extra envelopment of height channels, you needed some Dolby Atmos-encoded content and a Dolby Atmos-enabled AV receiver or sound bar. Yamaha offers numerous Atmos-enabled receivers, including those in the AVENTAGE line, as well as select RX-V Series models such as the RX-V685 and the RX-V585. Another option is provided by the Yamaha YSP-5600 Digital Sound Projector — the first sound bar to offer height channels for Dolby Atmos reproduction and 7.1.2-channel multidimensional sound. The secret here lies in its 32 drivers and two woofers, along with 12 array speakers (six on each end of the unit) that “beam” audio signal up to the ceiling, adjustable for the optimal height channel positions.

But what if your home theater is not equipped with the extra speakers or sound bars needed? Turns out there’s a solution for that too: Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how it works.

Go Virtual

“Virtualization” is a word that refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something. In this case, it means the ability to simulate the Atmos overhead experience in a home theater setup that has a traditional speaker layout.

Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization uses digital signal processing to create the sensation of overhead sound in speakers that are actually at listener height. This is accomplished through the use of sophisticated height-cue filters that simulate the natural spectral information our ears receive from sound that’s coming from overhead.

The recently released Yamaha RX-V6A AV receiver will provide full support for Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization via a firmware update scheduled for early 2021. This advanced 7.2-channel 100 Watt receiver also includes voice control and MusicCast support (the Yamaha solution for wireless multi-room audio) as well as DTS:X, Wi-Fi®, AirPlay 2®, Spotify Connect and Pandora®, plus YPAO automatic room calibration — there’s even a phono input!

AV receiver.

Yamaha RX-V6A.

Perfect for movies, music, sports and TV buffs, gamers and anyone looking to create a powerful surround sound system with a small footprint, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization can provide an affordable and accessible sonic height experience without the need to add extra speakers. And as more Atmos-enabled content becomes available from movie studios, streaming service providers and television broadcasters, users will have even more ways to enjoy their home theaters. The future is looking — and sounding — bright indeed!

Check out these related blog articles:

What’s So Good About Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X?

Home Theater Basics

What’s a Receiver? Part 2: AV

Building the Ideal Home Theater

How to Recreate the Movie Theater Experience at Home

Gaming in Dolby Atmos®: An Interview with Josh Osiris

 

Click here for more information about the Yamaha RX-V6a AV receiver.

Click here for more information about Yamaha AVENTAGE AV receivers.

Click here for more information about the Yamaha RX-V Series AV receivers.

Click here for more information about the Yamaha YSP-5600 sound bar.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Tozzoli
Rich Tozzoli is a Grammy-nominated producer/mixer/composer based in the New York area. His credits include work with artists such as Ace Frehley, Hall & Oates, Omar Hakim and Al DiMeola. Rich's music has appeared in over a thousand TV series in 36 countries, and he has written for such shows as Live PD, Pawn Stars, Counting Cars, Duck Dynasty and NBC Olympics. Tozzoli has also authored numerous articles on audio production and technology as well as a book on surround sound mixing.

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